I'm having a major (DLR era) Van Halen phase just now and wtih the new book out I thought I'd post this it's pretty cool...
About the Book
Van Halen is as American as apple pie, Ford Mustangs, and fake breasts. However, underneath all the fun and flash is one of the most important and influential, soulful and successful bands in history. With their explosive 1978 debut, they changed the face of rock. As of 2005, they have earned a dozen consecutive multi-Platinum albums with sales reaching in excess of 75 million copies worldwide.
Pound for pound, they also happen to be one of the most devastating live bands in history. With thirteen tours and more than 1,300 gigs under their belt, they consistently packed sheds from L.A. to Tokyo. The cast of characters is legendary. "Diamond" David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar and Gary Cherone — three very dynamic but very different frontmen. Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony — one of the most powerful and consistent rhythm sections in rock. Edward Van Halen — the only rock guitarist in history other than the great Jimi Hendrix to reinvent the electric guitar.
“I liked what I read a lot. This book is a labor of love and all true VH fans will love it.”
—Alan Paul, Guitar World
Van Halen 101 is a comprehensive guide to the amazing history, music, impact, and influence of the Mighty VH. No hype, no b.s., just the facts. Includes a Foreword by Brian May and a tribute to Edward Van Halen by over 100 of the world’s greatest musicians! From Allan Holdsworth and Steve Vai to James Hetfield and Zakk Wylde, all the greats came forward to personally share their thoughts, memories and stories about the man simply known as “King Edward.”
About the Author
As a true fan, Abel feels this shouldn’t be about him, but the band to whom he’s devoted the last two years of his life writing about – Van Halen.
"I remember the first time I heard “Eruption.” I wasn’t even playing guitar then. I think I was about ten years old. I had a buddy who was older than me who played. Well, he played “Eruption” for me. I was just like, “Is that a guitar?” I didn’t even know whether it was a guitar or what it was. This was around the time I’d just started gettin’ into Sabbath and everything like that. Then I heard “Eruption” and I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing, you know?
"Then I remember hangin’ out at a buddy’s house one night. We were all hangin’ out in the backyard, just chillin’ out, and we were listening to Van Halen II. That was the first time I heard “Spanish Fly,” and I remember thinking, “How can anybody get that f**kin’ good?” It was beyond insane. I didn’t think it was physically possible to play like that! It was ridiculous! Man, to this day it still holds up. It’ll hold up forever ‘cause it’s that brilliant. Far as I’m concerned, Eddie’s the complete package. Technique aside, his rhythm playing, feel, songwriting, tone, riffs, leads – man, it’s all there. It’s like the best-tasting beer you ever drank in your life!
"It’s just, you know, all the great ones write their own s**t. Like, certain players are great songwriters that happen to play guitar. Then you got certain guys that are amazing guitar players, but they can’t write a song worth a s**t! Eddie does it all. He’s the complete package, man. That’s the greatest thing about him – he does it all. Even as far as tapping, he’s always used it tastefully. He was able to fit that into cool rock songs, as opposed to it just being in some insane musician level. Another really cool thing about Eddie is he always mentioned Eric Clapton, Allan Holdsworth, and all the guys he dug, you know? Oh, and far as speed goes, Ed’s not just about playin’ fast. He can play slow s**t, too. He can do anything. He’s a great songwriter, crafts great riffs, has amazing tone, and his solos are insane, too! I’ve always looked at solos as the icing on the cake. But you gotta have a cake, you know?
"Till this day, Eddie is a major influence and inspiration. I got his pictures in my music room and out in my garage, when I’m liftin’ weights and jammin’. Before we go out on stage we’ll just crank early Van Halen. Like, on the tour bus, we’ll just crank that s**t and it gets us all fired up – especially if you’re a guitar player, you know? It’s like, “Oh, think you can play? Listen to this s**t!” [laughs]
"When I look at Van Halen as a band, they were lethal. Man, especially the original. They’ve always kicked major f**kin’ a**, but the original was insane. Ozzy’s always told me that when Van Halen came in, it was the changing of the guard. VH opened for Sabbath back on their first tour in 1978 and Ozzy always says to me, “Zakk, they just f**kin’ crushed us every night!” They had that fire, man. They were just undeniable. It was just sick-a** f**kin’ greatness.
"I remember when I was growin’ up as a kid, a lot of jazz players and other players looked down on a lot of the rock players. Basically, they felt rock players couldn’t really play worth a s**t. You know, they thought most rock guitar players sucked. Well, I can put on “Spanish Fly” and they’ll go, “Who’s that? That guy’s really f**kin’ good!” And I’d go, “That’s f**kin’ Eddie Van Halen.” They’d be like, “Who? Get the f**k outta here! That ain’t Eddie Van Halen!” I go, “Uh, yeah, it is.”
"Back when I was in high school, I remember reading this article with John McLaughlin. I believe it was in Guitar for the Practicing Musician, or something like that. In fact, I actually told Eddie about it years later. They were doin’ “In the Listening Room” with John McLaughlin. You know, where they bring in a great musician, play him some songs, and then they basically share their thoughts. Well, they play “Spanish Fly” and McLaughlin was like, “Oh, this sounds very flamenco influenced. This guy is a phenomenal player! Who is he?” Obviously, John had no idea it was Ed. I remember telling Eddie and he goes, “Really? He f**kin’ said that about me?” Ed had no idea. John McLaughlin was sittin’ there going, “This guy is phenomenal! He has amazing technique!” I mean, John plays with Paco De Lucia, so I think he knows a thing or two about an amazing sick-a** flamenco guitar player, you know?
"That’s why that whole Rolling Stone magazine “Top 100 Guitarists” issue drove me nuts. Man, what a f**kin’ debacle! That s**t pissed me off so bad. The people who voted on that just don’t understand. I mean, Eddie Van Halen at number 70? Randy Rhoads at number 85? Yeah, right. If you’re gonna have Jimi Hendrix number 1, well, obviously Jimi’s a rock guitar player. He didn’t play jazz, ok? I mean, he did other things but he is a rock guitar player. Man, I love Jimi. I named my son after Hendrix! My son’s name is Hendrix Halen Michael Rhoads Wylde. I totally get that Jimi is the chosen son of electric guitar. But if you’re gonna put Jimi Hendrix number 1, then number 2 has gotta be Eddie Van Halen. If not, put Eddie Van Halen number 1.
"It’s like with the whole home run thing in baseball. People talk about Barry Bonds goin’ for the all-time record, but when you pick up a magazine you see the Babe on the cover. Well, doesn’t Hank Aaron own the all-time record? So it should really be Hank Aaron on the cover, you know? But then they’ll argue Hank played longer and Babe had less at-bats [laughs].
"I mean, if you’re gonna do an issue about the greatest guitar players of all time, ask guitar players! Seriously, call Edward Van Halen up and ask him for his Top 5 players of all time, you know? Then call Allan Holdsworth and ask him for his Top 5. Get it polled by great players. Then figure out if you’re goin’ rock, jazz, and so forth. I mean, someone like Al Di Meola is one of the greatest guitar players ever. But Al and John McLaughlin and Paco De Lucia are a different genre, you know? That’s how I woulda done it, anyways.
"The first time I ever saw Van Halen live was with Gary Cherone in 1998 in Japan. I never got to see VH with Dave or Sammy. I was actually over in Japan with Black Label Society at the same time they were. You know, we were over there doin’ promotion, interviews, and all that stuff. We hooked up and got s**t faced all night in Eddie’s room! The best part is that Eddie was playin’ me all these f**kin’ Led Zeppelin licks. Jimmy Page licks, you know? Sometimes he’d play the entire f**kin’ song, too. Man, he’d play all types of s**t while we were gettin’ blasted. I think I was hung over for about two days after that. Funny thing is I had to do interviews, like, the next day. And here I am, totally f**kin’ blasted! I swear, I was drunk for about two days after.
"Well, Van Halen did three nights at the Budokan, so we all went down there and watched ‘em. Man, Eddie played his f**kin’ a** off! That was the first time I ever saw ‘em in concert. I had actually met Eddie way before that. Back when I first joined Ozzy, Steve Lukather actually took me over to Ed’s house. Ed is f**kin’ awesome. He’s a beautiful guy, man. He’s good people. Without a doubt, Eddie Van Halen is the greatest guitar player who has ever lived."
Now I wouldn't go that far Zakk but wow he surely is one of the great ones...